What I have learned from my housing search

What I have learned from my housing search

(consumer-provider tips for what helped me as a homeless woman looking for housing.)

  • People like to help when they see you trying to accomplish a goal.
  • Places like libraries and coffee shops are good to center a person. Not having quiet places is so unsettling it may be hard to get work   and planning done.
  • Look around you for helpers. The people in church, a spiritual group or other group where member have a common goal are just waiting for an opportunity to be a help.  Open your mouth.
  • Find ways to help with stress. Having little to do besides the search can be very draining.  If at all possible volunteer or go to clubhouses.
  • Be creative. I mailed letters to plumbing and heating companies asking if any of their customers were landlords.  It taught me that no action is really fruitless.  When I got depressed thinking of that experience made me even more determined.  Being creative about my search empowered me.


This booklet was put together by Maureen Glynn


Observation that I acquired from my doing a weekly housing search group

  1. You can only push a person so far.
  2. Doing all the work does not empower the consumer.
  3. Basic information about housing bears repeating. (info such as how the housing certificate works and practical advice about making calls.)
  4. Acknowledging that searching for an apartment is hard is very useful. It can spark discussion of what practical needs a consumer may have.
  5. Encourage consumers to be practical about their expectations.
  6. Realize that when an individual is homeless they need support with practical issues because the homelessness can hinder a consumer’s ability to make and receive calls to and from landlords. Homeless complications can also make having clean and appropriate attire for apartment appointments difficult.
  7. Realize that change is difficult. This also applies to positive change.  There may be new fears that act as roadblocks for    Getting an apartment may be a positive change but, it is also new territory, sometimes scary.
  8. Respect where the consumer is coming from and work with the abilities the client has.
  9. Reinforce the idea that this may take a lot of effort but, their recovery is worth it. Ask about past accomplishments.
  10. Celebrate what things are going well:
  • A consumer who shows up every week
  • A consumer who show up after a couple of weeks away
  • A consumer who makes the effort to see an apartment but, does not get it.